Should you travel for the holidays amidst the COVID-19 pandemic? - GulfToday

Should you travel for the holidays amidst the COVID-19 pandemic?

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Picture used for illustrative purpose only. TNS

Gulf Today Report

As the school winter break approaches and the holiday season begins to set in, a lot of families will be contemplating travel.

This year however will see a marked difference in holidaying overseas, as the world has come to its knees due to the coronavirus.

But if you are among those wanting to head home for the holidays, you may want to reconsider your plans.


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Travel increases your risk of contracting and spreading the COVID-19 virus, according to experts.

"I think this year, we all need to be very careful about the decisions that we make about travel," says Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a Mayo Clinic paediatric infectious diseases specialist.

"Certain types of travel, for example, air travel versus traveling by car, have differing risks.

"And depending on where you're coming from and where you're going to, and the rates of transmission of virus in those settings, can affect your risk of getting infected, as well."

party 2 One should avoid get-togethers and public gatherings at least 14 days prior to travelling. TNS

If you still wish to travel nonetheless, follow these guidelines:

  • Avoid crowded transportation hubs such as airports
  • Be extremely careful and avoid visiting people and places, especially in the 14 days prior to getting together with loved ones
  • People who are at an increased risk for illness should avoid get-togethers and public gatherings
  • When travelling, follow all the primary COVID-19 rules such as maintaining social distance of two metres, wearing a well-fitting face mask, and sanitising your hands whenever necessary
  • If you are sick or you've been exposed to COVID-19, stay home except to get medical assistance

Dr. Rajapakse urges individuals to sacrifice holiday plans for the greater good of our and our families’ health and precious lives.

"Over the past few months, we have really asked people to give up a lot of things and activities that they enjoy.

"This is really difficult, especially when it comes to times like the holidays that we're used to getting together with friends and families," says Dr. Rajapakse.

"We have to keep in mind over 200,000 Americans who have been lost during this pandemic and those families that won't be celebrating with them this year.

"And I think that really kind of helps to put things in perspective as to the risks that we as individuals, as families, are willing to take to celebrate this holiday season with our loved ones.

"We would hate to see anyone's holiday celebration end up in the loss or illness of a loved one. And that's really why we're making these recommendations to everyone: to try and keep people as safe as possible this holiday season."

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